TAKES POSSESSION OF HISTORIC
VIOLET HILL MANOR HOUSE
Another colorful chapter of Shady Dell history has come to and end and a new chapter has begun. The Dell has been sold to a York County family of five.
Since 2006 the Dell had been owned by the Deroche family. Tom and Toni Deroche, along with Tom's brother Bob, bought the former restaurant and teen hangout at an estate sale following the death of previous owner Clarence "CN" Foose, one of John Ettline's nephews. (John had 14 nieces and nephews and 19 great nieces and nephews!)
The new owners have asked to
remain anonymous, at least for now,
and Shady Dell Music & Memories
will respect their wishes.
Kathleen Mae Schneider: This was her idea! Originally all
I ever dreamt to obtain was a photo of Mother standing on
the front porch of the house when she was 100 years old.
All the confusion and activity of her centennial birthday and
media coverage during the open house in April prevented
that, though of course we are thankful for that as well as
the other pictures and videos. It's just that she was over-
whelmed and distracted that day and it was hard for her to
express herself. She never in her long life had that much
attention paid her and she didn't quite know what to do
This time I was driving her home from an appointment and
seemingly out of nowhere she said, "Why don't we drive up
to the Dell?" I was totally surprised, but I know when I told
her earlier in the week that a new family would soon move
into the house, she realized there would most likely be no
other opportunities for her to go back. Judging by the way
she quietly moved around the outside of the house's front
and side, stopping to take good long looks, it was obvious
she was saying goodbye and had calculated doing that on
a day when she was already out and about. At 100, she
still is capable of pulling a coup!
As Mother made her way along the sidewalk she glanced to
the right and spotted the pump house, the little white out-
building where her father and mother, George & Allie Brown,
kept cheese and other food requiring a cool but not refri-
gerated environment. "I remember the grape arbor over by
the pump house," she remarked. "It's not the same.
Everything has changed so much."
As Mother gazed at her childhood home, her mind suffused
with memories, she shared with me her feelings about the
sale of the Dell. Mother said, "I'm o.k. with someone else
buying it 'cause I can't ever go back there to live again.
I'm just glad it's still standing and nobody tore it down.
I still have feelings for it because I liked it there. It was
Seeing my mother standing on her own power in that
wonderful dappled sunshine next to her childhood home
- priceless!!! This trip was arguably one of the most
moving experiences I've ever had.
I asked Kathleen how she feels now that a new owner is taking possession of the recently renovated Brown family home.
Mixed feelings would
best describe it I think.
My heart aches because
I might not ever again
have the opportunity to
explore and document
the Dell house, barn,
dance hall and wheel
tree. I have so enjoyed
experiencing the spirit
of the place and giving
my imagination free
reign! However, my
overarching feelings are
good for two reasons.
First, the marvelous restoration work of the house by the
Deroches will not be a target for vandals -a possibility if it
had stood unoccupied much longer. The second and most
important reason is that my ancestral home will be vibrant
with life once again. That was my grandfather's intent after
all when he built it for his large family a century ago. The
thought that the house will be preserved and occupied for
a long time replaces my original fear that it would only exist
in pictures. Hopefully the sounds of laughter and perhaps
children playing will fill its rooms and porches soon. My
grandparents, George Andrew Brown and his wife Allie, and
all their children who were the first to live there would be
happy if they knew that!
Mixed feelings and sad goodbyes are indeed the order of the day
as we now turn our attention to our dear friend Toni Deroche.
I asked Toni what it
has meant to her to own and care for the Shady Dell and what memories she will take with her as a result of this experience.
TONI DEROCHE: When asked my feelings on selling the
Dell, the first word that popped into my head was "bitter-
sweet". Naturally, the emotions run pleasant and painful.
I, the "Dell keeper", along with my husband and his brother,
have proudly enjoyed owning, renovating and even cleaning
up the Dell estate. With the colder weather on its way we
also knew it was time for the house to have a full time
family living in it.
Over the six plus years that
I have owned the Dell I have
learned so much about this
place from Kathleen, whose
mother, Margaret, resided
there the first twelve years of
her life. Margaret's father built
this charming Victorian 100
Also, there was the Spangler family and one of its
descendants, Phil Spangler, who gave us pictures from
when his father lived there as a child in the late 1920's
and early 30's.
Lastly, the "Dell years", the sometimes notorious, historical
"teen hangout" years (1945-1991), the "John and Helen"
years brought back to life through the eyes and skills of
Tom Anderson, the head honcho "Dell rat". Over the past
4 years with his memories and tedious research, Tom has
come up with a wonderful source of information along with
music and entertainment with this masterpiece, "Shady Dell
Music and Memories." Because of him, the "Dell" will live
eternally for many generations to come.
Tom and I developed quite a camaraderie with our Dell
passion. We composed several blog posts together
with my pictures and information and his wittiness and
imagination. We've collaborated on some fun and inter-
esting events and added a few missing pieces to the
Although I grew up in York, I never experienced the
Dell in it's heyday. Somehow, I never knew it existed
or I would have certainly been there dancing the night
away. I'm so thrilled to have been a small part of the
Dell's history. But the biggest reward was getting to
know Tom, a.k.a. Shady, who will always be a lifelong
dear friend of mine!
Farewell, Shady Lady, it's only on to bigger, better and
more improvements for you! Parting is such sweet sorrow...
Beautifully expressed, Toni, and I thank you very much for you kind words! Now, I have a few words to say to you, my
For the last six-and-a-half years, Toni, you were the reigning First Lady of the Shady Dell. You wore your title with pride. Here on the blog you eagerly embraced your role as Deroche family representative and spokesperson and did a superb job of keeping us updated on everything going on at the Dell.
You, your husband Tom and your entire family went way beyond the call of custodial duty. The Deroches will go down in history as preservers, protectors and defenders of the Dell legacy. You were nothing less than the saviors of the Dell. Now, as your tenure comes to an end, Dell rats around the world want to thank you and your family for your hard work and sacrifice.
The Shady Dell got lucky when you became owner, Toni.
Dell rats everywhere got lucky. You genuinely cared about the Dell and it showed. How can we ever thank you enough for all that you have done for us, for the Shady Dell, for the Ettlines, for the Spanglers, for the Browns and for this, our Shady Dell blog?
It can't be denied. Shady Dell Music & Memories is your blog as much as it is mine, Toni, and there are a thousand of your wonderful pictures to prove it.
Over the four years that this blog has existed, you devoted countless hours of your time to capturing rare, one-of-a-kind images for display here. You helped build Shady Dell Music & Memories as surely as you helped restore the Dell itself. I will go as far as to say that I can't imagine anyone else caring as much or doing as much.
I wholeheartedly agree, Toni, that you and I will always be friends. I know that the Dell will always be a part of you, deep in the heart of you, just as it is for the rest of us. Please stay close. Please keep checking back here to the Shady Dell online, your home away from home. Please stay
in touch with us and let us know how you're doing. Okay?
And now, Toni, as you prepare to step down from your post as Keeper of the Castle, as we bring to a close the exciting chapter of Dell history that you helped write, as the curtain falls and you take your bow, as you say goodbye to the place you loved as much as we do...
the place that was brought back to life and transformed into a modern home during your watch, the place that is much better off now than when you took possession of it, I want you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your heart and whisper "goodbye, old friend."
Now imagine if you will the Dell, our dear old M'Lady Shady, her steamy windows misty with emotion, bidding you a fond farewell with the words to one of her favorite songs...
But, if you must go
Mmm, I won't tell you no
Just so that we can say we tried
Tell me you'll love me for a million years
Then if it don't work out
Then if it don't work out
Then you can tell me goodbye
Please know this, Toni. People around the world have come to know and admire you through your appearances on this blog and your immeasurable contributions to it and to the Dell. You have made many new friends here and I am very proud to be one of them. Dell rats everywhere, the old and the young, the living and the dead, honor you and thank you, Toni, for your years of dedicated service. We wish you all the best, dear friend - health, happiness and success in all your future endeavors.
of the Shady Dell.